Afghans on Sunday reacted with hope and confusion to the US President Donald Trump’s decision after he said in a series of tweets that Washington was calling off the talks with the Taliban following Thursday deadly bombing in Kabul that left at least 12 people dead including them one American soldier.
They urged the Taliban to swiftly agree on a ceasefire and resume the talks with the US side and the Afghan government.
But at the same time, there are serious concerns growing among the embattled Afghans that Trump’s move on the talks could further lead to the expansion of the war and violence by the Taliban that will take the lives of more civilians.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by TOLOnews website shows that a majority of Afghans have welcomed Trump’s decision.
According to a poll conducted on TOLOnews Facebook page, 76 percent of the respondents from amongst 25,500 people have said that Trump’s move to cancel the talks with the Taliban was a “right decision”.
Also on the Twitter, 1,400 people took part in the survey from which 44 percent said that Trump’s decision was right and 40 percent said that they were worried about the decision and the remaining 15 percent said that they have no interest to comment.
“The poll shows that ordinary Afghans, who mostly use Facebook, are in favor of the decision but on Twitter, which is mostly used by political elites and those who are well-aware of the situation, they are worried about this decision,” said Siyar Sirat, an editor at TOLOnews.
People from different parts of the country interviewed by TOLOnews had mixed reaction about the decision.
“To end the war, there is a need to start the negotiations at any level,” Badghis resident Habib Fawzi said.
“The peace process was moving forward in an unknown and vague way, because of this, the people were concerned about a Taliban comeback. We welcome the decision by the US president,” Herat resident Negina said.
“Everyone is trying to take points. I think it was not a good decision,” said Sediqullah Afghan, a Kandahar resident.
“People of Afghanistan should have been consulted, the elders of Afghanistan should have been consulted,” said Mohammad Naeem, a resident of Nangarhar.
“I urge the Taliban and the government to sit together,” said Mairaj Behsudwal, a Nangarhar resident.
Bismillah Akbar, a retired physician said the US and the Taliban should resume talks, however, he believes that if they do not take Afghanistan’s interests into consideration, the negotiations will fail.
“This survey shows that ordinary people who use Facebook are supporting this decision, but on Twitter where most users come from the elite segment of the society and who are aware of the issues are looking a bit concern about this decision,” said Siyar Sirat, head of TOLOnews online.
“The will of the Afghan people not reflected on the plan. Those four Afghans (Taliban negotiators) who are dealing on Afghanistan they are not coming in the category of the Afghans. But the ordinary Afghans are not involved in it. I was against this move and I am still against it,” said Bismillah Akbari, a Kabul resident.
The Taliban who are waging a deadly war against the Afghan government have had intensified their deadly attacks on certain targets across the country simultaneously with the start of talks with the Americans last October.
The UN recently in a report said that it had registered a record number of casualties in the country as result of an intensifying violence.
Meanwhile, a number of military experts have said the end of the talks with the Taliban could lead to more violence in the country.
Experts say the Taliban can resort to more deadly wars to build leverage on their stance.
Among those concerned about the future crisis is Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban envoy to Islamabad, who believes that the war is not the solution. But he said that there is possibility to break the ongoing deadlock in the negotiations.
“They (Taliban) are prepared for negotiations and understanding if someone makes a real peace with them. Then all will prefer the peace and I think that they are successful in it. Now that the US uses force and bullying, they did it in the past 18 years and do are doing it now, I don’t think that there will be any kind of change in the Taliban’s stance,” said Zaeef.
“Most of the Taliban officials and leaders have come inside Afghanistan and they have taken military preparations to show their power to the Americans to force them to return to the negotiation table. We hope that the issue is tackled seriously,” said Jawed Kohistani, a military analyst.
“Today, the world is supporting us. They are no longer in support of the Taliban. All politicians should try to kick out the Taliban from Doha,” said military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhel.